It's that time of year again, when the impending winter triggers what is known as "throttle itch." For those of us who've recently bought new snowmobiles or are content to be riding our trusty steeds again this year, this is easily cured by simply sitting on our sleds—but for those of you on the hunt for a new ride, the intensity of that itch increases each day.
It's for you that I have prepared this list of resources to aid you in your relentless search for the right snowmobile. Before you pull the trigger, it's worth analyzing which sled is best for you.
The big four manufacturers have done a great job of catering snowmobile models to customers' needs over the last few years—the lines between Mountain, Crossover, Trail Performance, Touring, Sport, and even Youth are becoming increasingly blurred as sleds designs and features become more adaptable and versatile.
Ask yourself where you will be riding—is it on groomed trails or off trail in remote places? Talk to your riding friends about their expectations for this winter and get a solid idea of the type of rides you will be embarking on.
Think about a reasonable budget leaving enough room for accessories and riding gear as well as money for your permit, insurance and fuel. If you have a family do you plan to take others for a ride or perhaps let someone else ride your sled? All of the above are important questions to ask before deciding on the right machine. Having answers to at least a few will guide you in your search.
Now that you have analyzed your snowmobile needs and have come up with a general idea of the experience you are looking for, it's time to do some research both directly from the manufacturers themselves but also the general snowmobiling public. This research will inject confidence into your purchase so you never have to look back or think twice about your decision and will, without a doubt, help you make your final purchase decision.
2. What Are People Saying?
Log onto DooTalk, Totally Yamaha, Arctic Chat & Hardcoresledder to get the lowdown on your favourite model. The best way to search any of these forums is simply through Google—enter the brand, model, or feature with the forum name and Ta Da! You have a range of independent reviews, experiences, and opinions. These forums also have classifieds sections and can be a great place to find a good deal on a well-maintained sled.
4. Youtube It
Search out videos on YouTube showcasing manufacturers, professional media and average joe riders that have the sled of choice in the video. When you find something good, subscribe to the channel—chances are that the user will post more videos.
6. Know the Terrain
Check out the sleds available on Kijiji. Whether you are in the market for new or used, it's a good idea to get a handle on the number of available units for sale as well as the asking value. You may even find a great deal close to home. Right now there are over 4500 sleds for sale in Ontario on Kijiji!
7. Don't Take Chances
Buy from someone reputable. Sleddealers.ca compiles hundreds of sleds from all makes and models of dealers across Canada. They also have a dealer directory that will link you to your closest dealership.
8. Try Before You Buy
If you're in the market but haven't made a decision yet, try to attend a demo ride this winter and test out a few different models. It is amazing the difference between brands and machine segments and how each sled performs. Last year, the Sault Trailblazers were the first to open a days worth of trails and won an opportunity to ride Yamaha's new line for a weekend. Search for snowmobile demo rides in Ontario to see what's going on this year.
9. I'll Show You Mine...
If you can convince a friend to lend you or swap machines for a few miles give it a try. A lot of the time, riders on older well-maintained snowmobiles are still having a blast, but really don't know what they are missing until they get on something newer and more technologically advanced.
10. Go to the Show
Visit the Toronto Snowmobile Show and find your local dealer to speak with someone who is intimately knowledgeable about what they are selling. This is a great way to learn a lot about both the features and engineering behind them.
If you have a friend or family member who's looking (or should be looking!) for a first or new winter ride share this article with them to get them well on their way. Hopefully it will help to stop them from coming over and sitting on your snowmobile.
See you on the snow!